Terry Henry Walton Chronicles Book 9
By Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle
I did a live reading on the THW FB page of this snippet, if you’d like to go that route follow the link below.
Kimber stood on her porch. Auburn was next to her with his arm wrapped around her waist. “I love having you home,” he told her.
“I love being home, Auburn,” she replied, cupping his face in her hands. She caught a movement out of the corner of her eye. She turned and dialed in her vision, counting on her nanocytes to give her an extra boost, to see a little more clearly at long distance.
She saw nothing out of place. The cattle wandered and grazed through the area where she thought she saw a movement. She was convinced someone was there.
“What are you looking at?” Auburn asked.
“I thought I saw something, but I guess not. What’s for dinner? I’m starved!” she told him.
They went inside together where Auburn had steak and potatoes ready to cook over an outdoor fire. “Your appetite has tripled since you came back,” Auburn noted.
“It’s the nanocytes. They require a lot of energy. More food. More energy. I’ve been asking for as much as they’ll give. As long as I eat, they’ll give me that and a little more. It’s weird, because I feel the same, but like me on my best days, but every day is like that,” she tried to explain.
He smiled and shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. I’m just making small talk. There’s so much I want to tell you during the day, but when you’re here, none of that really matters. I want to experience life with you, and we don’t need to say anything to do that.” Auburn turned away as he was getting emotional. He had always tried to be the strong one in the relationship, even though Kim came to him as the complete package.
She hadn’t needed his manliness before, but he couldn’t change who he was, just like she couldn’t change who she was.
“I’m going to run out back for a bit. I want to check on something,” Kim told him. She left their cabin and started to run, increasing to enhanced speed. She jumped in stride, easily clearing a four-foot tall fence. She hit the ground with a thud and continued pounding her way into the pasture.
She dodged cow pies as if running through a minefield, then slowed as she approached the area where she’d seen the movement. Once up close, the hide site was obvious.
“Get the fuck out of there,” she ordered. The two warriors reluctantly got up and brushed themselves off. They had bushes tied to them to break up their outlines, but they hadn’t refreshed the foliage. Theirs was the only greenery in the area that had started to die.
Kimber ripped a chunk off and showed it to them.
“This was a great spot until that!” she declared, pointing at the brown and holding it against the green of the surround small bushes. “Close but no cigar, gentlemen. Damn! You stink.”
“This channel acts as a sluice. I can’t say I’m sorry to get out of it,” the younger of the two said.
“A sluice, huh? Let me guess. You grew up on a farm and you,” she pointed to the older of the two, “and you did not.”
The young man nodded.
“And this is where none of us are as smart as all of us. Work together. Get yourselves cleaned up and then get back here and find a different hide site.” She leaned close to them and looked around before whispering. “I won’t tell anyone I found you, if you don’t.”
The two nodded and ran for the fence, climbed over it, and disappeared into the woods. She couldn’t fault their motivation. Training was about identifying deficiencies, correcting them, and getting better with each new session.
They had two more days to prove themselves.
Kimber was most impressed by their base level of training. The four new team leaders assumed it would take months. After the first couple days, she revised her timeline to no more than a month. She expected the others had come to the same conclusion. Since Kae, Marcie, and Ramses already knew their squads, they could focus their training on new procedures, and the team leaders needed to learn how to integrate their enhanced capabilities.
The training was as much for them as it was for the new teams. Learning to work as a team was a constant challenge, as Kimber had just seen. It was too easy for the older or more experienced person to take over, discounting the opinion of someone junior.
Kimber strolled through the pasture. A couple cows came up to her, looking for a handout. “I have nothing for you,” she told them as she scratched their foreheads. She wondered if her ranch days were forever behind her.
She could lie to herself and say that someday she’d be back, but with her enhancements, she would live hundreds of years. She’d fought her calling for as long as she could, but her home was with the FDG, just like the rest of her family.
She slowly climbed over the fence and headed for the cabin, unsure of what to tell Auburn.